Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting Starting Rotation at the End of 2022

May 14, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Miguel Yajure (89) delivers a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 14, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Miguel Yajure (89) delivers a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JULY 21: The socks of Adam Frazier #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates as he stands on first base during the seventh inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 21, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

Omar Cruz

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired southpaw Omar Cruz in the Joe Musgrove trade. Although not a high-end prospect like some of the arms we’ve talked about, Cruz should be a solid back of the rotation arm. The left-hander should get a taste of big league action in 2022 as he’s moved up the Pirates’ farm system pretty fast.

So far this year, Cruz has pitched 70.2 innings between High-A Greensboro and Double-A Altoona. The southpaw has put up solid numbers including a 3.73 ERA, 3.86 FIP, and 1.20 WHIP. Cruz has prevented home runs at a .9-per-9 rate while having a 23.3% strikeout rate. Though he isn’t a Greg Maddux, he does have a solid 8.4% walk rate. Cruz’s most recent outing was poor, which has inflated his numbers a bit.

Cruz only throws around 90-92 MPH, but he shows a large amount of confidence with the offering. It’s seen as an average offering by MLB Pipeline. His curveball is a plus offering with MLB Pipeline seeing it as a 55-grade pitch. It’s an overhand curve that comes in with a ton of spin. Cruz’s change-up is a third average offering, but plays up because of his deception and arm speed (as per Pipeline).

Cruz may not be the most exciting pitcher in the Pirates’ farm system, but he’s yet to struggle at any level of the minor leagues. He’s a lefty with pitchability and command. 2022 will be his age 23-season. There’s a good possibility he gets a rotation spot very early into the season. A month of work at Triple-A could be all that he needs in order to get a spot in the Pirate starting rotation.

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